Saturday, May 4, 2013

Not the absence of fear

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than one's fear."    - Ambrose Redmoon

The first time I heard this quote I read it in a book written about the life of a retired police chief. The rest of the book was truly not noteworthy, but this quote has stuck with me ever since. This quote is everything that I want to be, everything that I want to do. I want to be the kind of person who can look fear right in the beady, fiery eyes and say no, I will be stronger.

Something that I love about this quote is that the author is such a nobody. Ambrose Redmoon is a pseudonym, yes, but even his real name is rarely recognized. James Neil Hollingsworth was a beatnik in the 50's and 60's. He was a fantastic writer who loved life, and oh yea, he was a paraplegic. One of the most quoted statements of the last decade about courage was written by a man in a wheelchair. That's more than just a little bit sobering to me. 

I know I'm vague about my job and career aspirations, but let's just say generally they are in law enforcement. The job that I work now, the one I started in January, is in this field. To say that I was scared on my first day would be the understatement of my life so far. I was petrified... but I wanted it so badly. So I dug down deep and I hid that fear. I showed up and I gave it my all, and with that courage I impressed people. I lived the quote that I had loved so many years ago.

Every day since that first day, I still try to go into work and live this quote. Admittedly it is easier in a regimented work day than in the rest of my life, but that is why now that I am becoming more comfortable in my new job, I am now trying to apply it to everything I do.

Professionally, I am still trying to do things that scare me every day. I put myself in situations that are still a little bit scary every single day, and they make me grow. They make me more courageous. I have an amazing group of people behind me to support and protect me if something does go wrong, but I just brace myself and try to handle things on my own. I show no fear. I'm rocking this one, honestly.

Personally though? How do you live courageously personally? Well, you could try adventure sports for one, but where I live that really isn't a choice. So I have decided to just say yes. Someone invites me somewhere? The answer is yes. Someone asks if I want to try something new? The answer is yes. This simple philosophy has already made my life so much richer, and I have only been doing it for the last month.

It's something worth thinking about, and in my opinion, something worth trying out. You will never know what you could be until you look that fear right in the face... and overcome it.

From "No Peaceful Warriors!" (1991) by Ambrose Redmoon:
"As a real, live, initiated, trained, experienced, traditional, hereditary warrior with thirty-seven body scars and a trophy or two on my belt, I find such expressions as "peaceful warrior" offensive, trivializing, and insulting. "Peaceful warrior" is far more than a contradiction in terms. The function of a warrior is to eliminate an exterior enemy presence . . Cowardice is a serious vice. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one's fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave."

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